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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kent Co. Whimbrel

This morning via eBird we learned of an exciting discovery within Kent County from yesterday: a rare inland Whimbrel seen by Gus van Vliet at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport at 9:45AM on June 13. This is not a species I expected to see in my lifetime in Kent County, as they just don't often stop inland, and even then it's almost always at mudflats and larger lakes with extensive beaches (which we don't have). So Randy Vandermolen and I immediately gave chase and were very lucky to relocate the bird (thanks to Gus's excellent notes within eBird) just south of the airport terminal shortly after 9AM. We were viewing it from the s. Kraft Ave. overlook north of 52nd St.

Around 11:25AM, however, the bird took flight (per Randy Vandermolen and Albert Rowell) and landed quite a ways to the NE, shown here by this marker. The bird definitely landed in the area, but was not visible once it put down according to Randy. Here is the approximate location it landed: 
Randy said that there was some kind of green vehicle in the vicinity of where it landed, and that when viewing from the s. Kraft Ave. overlook, that the bird was immediately to the east of the several smaller outbuildings just east of the large terminal. In any event, patience may be required if you plan to search for this bird. In terms of where to search for the bird, I suspect the s. Kraft overlook (with scope) is still the best, however one could consider two other options in case the bird is in its northerly stakeout. First is the FedEx building entrance drive off of Thornapple River Dr SE. Park right at Thornapple River Dr and scope from this position looking west. The second position would be from the eastmost point of the Gateway Dr loop (ie. the loop one drives when driving through the airport terminal for arrivals and departures) looking east. Be forewarned, however, that although the airport police are aware of this bird and birders generally, that you will likely be stopped and asked to leave if you're there for more than a couple minutes. Here is a map with both of these optional viewing locations:

Here are my photos from earlier today:
bird is just behind the fence in line with the "P" in airport

bird is on the tarmac front and left

Good luck if you go!

1 comment:

Zachary DeBruine said...

This is one great bird--thanks for spreading the word so quickly!